Local forum sparks humorous retort


Anonymouse caps
Especially at election time, the blogs and forums are full of supporters and detractors trying to convince you that their candidate or issue is the one right choice. One local discussion forum is responding with a rather irreverent but humorous retort in the form of a baseball cap.

Ed Slavin is a local figure who speaks out at numerous city and county meetings; grandstanding for one cause or another in his own irreverent and inimitable way. He takes on controversial causes with a vengeance in a way that is often called reckless. Slavin maintains his own blogspot on the Internet: “cleanupcityofstaugustine”.

A group of downtown merchants started a discussion forum a couple of years ago that originally focused on the problems of vagrant panhandlers and what they saw as a lack of enforcement of city ordinances to protect the safety and comfort of visitors to St. Augustine’s historic district. Aptly named “plazabum.com“.

Since that time, the St. Augustine Record closed it’s discussion forum “Talk of the Town” and many local personalities found themselves with no place to discuss local issues and argue points of view. Plazabum.com became the home for businessmen, politicos, activists and others to speak their minds on how they saw things going in St. Augustine whether is was a new place to eat, the state of the local economy or how they saw our local politicians doing (or not doing) their jobs.

Often Slavin is criticized by plazabum users for his comments, outlandish behavior and sometimes bizarre appearance and manner of speaking. Slavin refers to Congressman John Mica as a “reprobate” and Representative Bill Proctor as “the meanest man in St. Augustine”. Hence, Slavin has no love lost for plazabum.com.

In a number of recent comments on Slavin’s blog, a blog where nobody posts dissenting opinions to his often long-winded sermons, Slavin refers to the posters at plazabum as “anonymice” because they discuss issues among themselves using anonymous nicknames like bieramar, skookum, dunrobin, phred, coebul or scrutney rather than their real names.

Not to go quietly, a couple of plazabum regulars threw out an idea that they should embrace Slavin’s disapproval and wear it as a “badge of honor” with t-shirts or buttons that simply say “anonymouse”. The first salvo has been embroidered caps — complete with the design of a mouse head and the plazabum.com moniker.

A local uniform store operated by one of plazabum’s occasional posters (who also happens to be the publisher of Historic City News) is offering free “anonymouse caps” to anyone who participates in the discussion forums at plazabum.com. Michael Gold said that he would let others buy the hats as a humorous souvenir. Gold says he got a good laugh out of the idea when he first heard it suggested by another local businessman, Chuck Nusbaum, since Mike and Chuck each post under their real names.

Gold said that he will donate any proceeds from the cap sales to the local homeless shelter, St. Francis House.

Photo credit: © 2008 Historic City News staff photographer